Another legal victory for Chevron in Ecuador case.

Despite Old Ruling, Chevron Cleared to Challenge Ecuadorean Courts

By Mark Hamblett — New  York Law Journal, September 8, 2011

Chevron is not judicially estopped from challenging the fairness of the Ecuadorean judicial system as it fights the enforcement of a multi-billion dollar environmental damage award, Southern District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has ruled.

Judge Kaplan said that Chevron is not bound by statements made by Texaco more than 10 years ago in the Southern District and in the Second Circuit, where it won dismissal of environmental litigation on the grounds of forum non conveniens, in part by arguing the Ecuadorean courts were neither corrupt nor unfair.

In an opinion Wednesday, Judge Kaplan rejected a motion for judgment on the pleadings brought by two Ecuadoreans who were among the winners in February when a court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, ordered Chevron to pay $18 billion for environmental degradation of rain forests and rivers during Texaco’s oil operations there between 1964 and 1992.

In February, Judge Kaplan issued a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the award worldwide on the grounds that Chevron had shown a likelihood of success on its claim that the judgment was won through fraud (NYLJ, Feb. 9). He later followed with a preliminary injunction.

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